Monday, March 24, 2008

Genealogue Challenge #121

I was surprised to read that Jack Elam was named director of the Kosciusko County Historical Society’s Old Jail Museum, because I thought he was dead.

What was the middle name of wild-eyed actor Jack Elam's older sister?




according to Wikipedia, William Scott Elam was born in Miami, Arizona, to Millard Elam and the former Alice Amelia Kerby. Alice died in 1924, when young Jack was not quite four years of age. Afterwards, he was reared by relatives in unhappy circumstances. By 1930, he was once again living with his father, older sister, Mildred, and their stepmother, Flossie.

He grew up picking cotton, and as a Boy Scout, he lost the sight in his left eye after another Scout threw a pencil at him at a troop meeting.[citation needed] He was a student of both Miami High School in Gila County and Phoenix Union High School in Maricopa County and graduated from the latter in the late 1930s.

He attended Santa Monica Junior College in California and subsequently became an accountant in Hollywood and, at one time, manager of the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles.

Assuming this is correct, the Millard Elam family in Miami Ward 2 is probably our group in the 1920 census. In that Census, Mildred is 4 months , and listed as Mildred A. Elam. With a mother named Alice Amelia, it's probably a pretty safe bet that one of those is Mildred's middle name...

A Rootweb genealogy here records her middle name as Alice, and lists a marriage to a gentleman named Bird as well as her 1977 death in Mesa, Arizona.


Jack Elam's birth certificate is

Alice Kirby Elam's death certificate is here and her cemetery transcription is found at The Arizona Genweb site

A listing at for Millard Elam, shows three wives, and lists Mildred's middle name as Alyce


Jack Elam, who was born William Scott Elam, had an older sister named Mildred ALICE Elam.

She was listed in the 1920 census as only Mildred A. Elam, but in checking for her birth registration in the Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates at :
I came across not her registration, but the death record of her daughter, Olga Victoria CHENEY form 1945. On this document, Mildred is listed as Mildred Alice Elam, born in Miami, AZ, which is where she was living in the 1920 and 1930 US census records.

Also, her mother's first name was Alice, which makes this middle name significant.

1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2002. Census Place: Miami, Gila, Arizona; Roll: 57; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 42.

1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Miami Ward 2, Gila, Arizona; Roll: T625_47; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 50.


The 1920 has "A" as the middle initial.
This family tree has her middle name as Alice but I haven't yet confirmed it with any other sources.

Andy E. Wold

According to the New Family Search database, her full name is Mildred Alice Elam. She was a member of the LDS Church (Mormon) during her lifetime.


I found a death certificate of the 5 year old daughter of Mildred Alice Hayner here:

I had found the first name, Mildred, in Wikipedia.



Yup, it was Alice. Jack also had at least one half-brother, born 1937 in Stanislaus County, California.

Andy E. Wold

Actually, Jack also has an older half-sister, Naomi Elam, born 22 Dec 1909 in Alameda county, CA to his father's first wife, Adelta Nelson.


I find this fascinating! Mildred A. Elam (aka Grandma Millie as we called her) is my grandmother on my father's side. The absolute definition of a Renaissance Woman. She died before I was born, but my dad says I actually resemble her alot...dark features, fiery spirit.

I actually vividly remember taking trips in the summer to Ashland, Oregon with my father (Kim F. Hayner, son unto William Franklin Hayner and Millie Hayner) to visit Uncle Jack who was still such an extraordinary man even in his final, witty, cantankerous yet compassionate.

I feel honored to be a direct descendant to Millie and Jack and to see so much research being done oh here surrounding their lives. I feel extremely passionate about their existence and their influence in my life even though I never had deep relationships with either of them...Sounds crazy, but I somehow feel haunted by their spirits because I seem to be following in their footsteps, perhaps continuing their story through my passion for the theatre. There's no doubt their blood is flowing through my very veins! I'm currently located in the Twin Cities where I am a working actor/singer, recent grad from The Univerisy of Memphis with a B. F. A. in Acting. THANK YOU ALL for your posts...I truly an enlightened by all of your wonderful research!


Hello, I loved all Jacks movies. As we watched westerns alot.Just would like to find out if he had any relation in Kentucky. My mother's maiden name was Elam. He even resembles some of my family. My sister-in-law is in to the genealogy, but just was watching a movie and thought about it. I'm sure she may have looked it up already. Cause like I said, us kids grew up with watching westerns.

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